Search giant Google says governments around the world made nearly 21,000 requests for access to Google data in the first six months of this year.
Government surveillance of online activity is increasing at a rapid rate, Google said in its Transparency Report, with the U.S. government leading the way by asking for data details 7,969 times in the first half of 2012.
Google regularly receives requests from government agencies and courts around the world to have access to content, and has been publishing its Transparency Report detailing the requests semi-annually since 2009.
"This is the sixth time we've released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise," Google said in a blog post.
The types of requests received show varying government behaviors around the world, a Google spokeswoman told the BBC.
"It reflects laws on the ground," she said. "For example in Turkey there are specific laws about defaming public figures whereas in Germany we get requests to remove neo-Nazi content."
The top three reasons given by governments for content removal were defamation, privacy and security, Google said.
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